“Dan Jacobs; His Star is Still Rising”
Daniel Wright Jacobs was born in Belaire, Michigan on May 20, 1942. He played with his family’s Dixieland band while still living at home. One of their engagements was playing for the official opening of the Mackinac Bridge in 1957, when Dan was only 15 years old.
Dan Jacobs studied trumpet performance and music theory at the Navy School of Music, and participated in the honor guard for the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, at age 21.
He also attended Berkeley College of Music and Michigan State University.
Dan Jacobs offers his recollections of his musical engagements in Grand Rapids: “while studying at Michigan State University beginning in the 1960s, I played every weekend in Grand Rapids. This included casual work with Mel Dalton, Rupert Kettle, Buck Vandermeer, Mike Darooge, Bruce Early, Jim Kaye, Eric Wendlandt and many others. I had a steady gig on Friday and Saturday night at the Mouse Trap on Bridge Street with the Eric Wendlandt trio. Eric played Cordovox, trumpet and valve trombone; Dan Jacobs played trumpet, fluglehorn and flute. My brother, Rod Jacobs, on drums.”
During the day (on the weekend) in Grand Rapids, I would teach trumpet and flute at Eric’s dad’s music store called Music Mart on West Fulton. My brother Rod and I would often sleep overnight at the apartment above the store on Friday and Saturday nights. Eileen Sarafis and I performed together at several places around Grand Rapids, including St. Cecilia as a duet. I played trumpet and flute, and Eileen was the vocalist.
“In more recent years, I played and recorded with the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra for several years, including outdoor shows for concerts at the Zoo and at Founders Brewing for several years. Also with the Truth In Jazz Orchestra for several years, performing at the John Ball Park Zoo concerts; and with Arno Marsh & Randy Marsh, also at a Zoo concert. I also played gigs and festivals in Grand Rapids as part of the jazz group Evidence.”
Dan also toured with the Kenny Gordon band from 1968 until May of 1973.
Bobby Charles played organ and recorded with Kenny Gordon’s band during the 60s and early 70s. He recalls that “Dan started playing during his summer break with Kenny Gordon and me while he was attending college at Michigan State. I think he played with us for a while after he graduated, too. Dan was a great player and added much to the band. I loved having young guys like Dan come into our band because they contributed fresh new ideas and exposed us to the new music.”
In 1968, Gordon’s band recorded an album entitled “Kenny Gordon and The Sound Gathering” at Phil Robert’s Midwestern Sound Studios on Leonard N.W., which included the contributions of Dan Jacobs.
In the early 1970s, Dan and the other members of Kenny Gordon’s Sound Gathering were presenting a musical concert form of the popular play called Jesus Christ Superstar, which was performed at over 500 engagements throughout the United States.
In 1972, Gordon then switched to another musical offering of a play named Today Is a Good Day to Die, which Dan was also involved with.
Ronnie Fray, a musician who was also active in Grand Rapids at that time recalls: “I got to see both of those fantastic shows a few times. A good friend of mine, Sam Dwyer, also played trumpet with that group. It was one hell of a band!”
Lin’ (Nowicki) Otherlin: “I first met Danny Jacobs in the early 70s when I auditioned for Kenny Gordon’s rock opera, Today is a Good Day to Die. I remember him, from that first meeting, as being very disciplined in his work, studying the charts and ‘working it’ along with Dennis Solee. It was Eileen Sarafis (Jacobs-Bertsch), who took me around to introduce me to all of the band members. Danny was warm and friendly, but ALL business. I vividly remember noticing an intensity of spirit in his eyes.”
“The gig was an unique stage-show…unique in that all of the characters emerged from inside of the band, which was always fully on-stage. Danny, of course, played his bright and beautiful trumpet, but he also had a vocal spotlight, as General George Custer. As Custer, he wore a red, white and blue fully- fringed leather outfit. His song, I Want to be the President, was one of a handful that stopped the show.
After I left that show, I had the chance to work with him again, in another version of Kenny’s Sound Gathering. We played mostly in Florida that year. We were a pretty tight bunch of musician friends, nurturing the ‘custom’ of gathering together in one room, after the gig, to laugh, talk music, and enjoy a variety of libations. He was the calm, quiet, wise one and somewhat of ‘a counselor.’ During that gig, I learned to appreciate his flute playing, which became then, (and remains) my most favorite, Danny Jacobs’ axe. The trumpet has his heart…but the flute has his soul.”
“Years and distance have taken us on different paths in our music, but he and I do keep in touch, via e-mails and Facebook. I also get to see and hear him, on occasion, when he visits the area. Eileen and I are close friends, and since Danny is her ex-brother-in-law, there is a window of familial connection into which I am privileged to peer.”
“Dan Jacobs is one of the truly great musicians/writers/performers that the abundant gift of our West Michigan talent-pool has given to the world. He is one of the magical musical friends, who inspire me; a friend who so beautifully touches our lives with real music…I say “real,” because it is alive with spirit and continues to grow. Danny Jacobs’ star is still rising.”
Mel Dalton’s daughter, Martine Dalton, recalls various conversations which she had with her father about Dan Jacobs. “Dad said he really enjoyed playing with Dan. He also mentioned that Dan is the ‘real deal’ when it comes to music as well as being one of the “best cats” around. I could always tell when he was excited about a certain gig. He would talk about who was going to play and what they might play. Dan was one of the guys who Dad ‘got energy from’ while he was playing with him. He also said that playing with Dan was like having a conversation between musical instruments and that you never knew which way it was going to go. As Dad would say, ‘boy, this is going to be fun.’ ”
Bob Van Stee (aka Gus): “I first met Dan in the summer of 1967. I was just 17 at the time and had been asked to play a multi band concert in a field just north of Lowell where a couple guys had built geodesic domes by the Flat River. Dan was playing a duo with Buck Vander Meer and the moment I heard him, I knew he was the real deal. He played that Miles Davis kind of stuff. Don’t know if we were even introduced that day but I knew I would remember him.”
“I first got to know Dan when I joined the Kenny Gordon and the Sound Gathering band. We played Mr. President’s Inn in Grand Rapids, doing show sets and dance sets six nights a week, while I was in music school at GRCC. We evolved into doing a killer version of Jesus Christ Superstar (arr. Jack Kimmel) touring the eastern half of the US for over 500 performances until the Stigwood people forced us to “cease and desist”. Copyright infringements. We went on to do Today Is A Good Day To Die (Ladd MacIntosh) culminating in a 13 week run at the Playboy Plaza in Miami Beach in 1972.”
“Many stories, but one sticks out in my memory. We were at TV13 doing a spot for the Jerry Lewis Telethon. Kenny was singing “Colour My World” by Chicago and we did a run through to warm up. It went well and we were informed that it had been recorded and they wanted us to lip synch to it “live” so there would be no possible mistakes. Even in those days bands did not take kindly to this. We wanted to play live on the air but our protests fell on deaf ears. So we lip synched with a live shot of the band. Afterward we all went to the control room to watch a replay. The band sat in the back row. When it came time in the piece for Dan to take the lovely flute solo he looked at us and whispered just to the band, “Check this out.” There he was in a tight shot on his face looking angelic with eyes half closed emoting and playing his flute, his long hair blowing slightly in the breeze. Looking good Dan! When the camera pulled back and you could see all of him, we all saw that he was blowing in the wrong end of the flute and the mouthpiece was floating in the air out at the end of the flute!! We tried to hold our laughter in but we all busted out laughing!! This had just been broadcast all over West Michigan “live”. Dan is a very funny guy and neither his sense of humor nor his talent have diminished.”
Randy Scott Marsh met Dan in the early 70?s when Dan was playing with Severe Hands, an experimental fusion band that played around East Lansing. “I knew Dan from his creative side, when he was a younger man. I was very impressed with his playing as he had kind of a Miles Davis approach to the trumpet.” “Dan is an eclectic player and can play in a lot of different directions, he’s a great guy, a very serious player and I got to gig with him a few times in the last 10 years.”
In 1973, Jacobs moved to California, and his career as a jazz musician skyrocketed. He has since performed with Bob James, Woody Herman, Mel Torme, Wayne Newton, Linda Ronstadt, Aaron Neville, The Four Tops, Bobby Vinton and Kenny Rogers, just to name a few.
He has also performed at most of the major jazz festivals in the United States.
Dan’s connections and relationships with Grand Rapids musicians have always been extremely deep-rooted. He has played with many of our most loved and recognized jazz musicians, and has retained many of the relationships he created while working with Al Green, Mel Dalton, Kenny Gordon, Bobby Charles, Arno Marsh, Randy Marsh, Bob Van Stee and Rupert Kettle, Eric Wendlandt and numerous others.
Dan performed at the Jazz at the Zoo concert in John Ball Park Park last summer, and also played with pianist Bob Van Stee in a band called the Skylarks during 2013.
It seems that when you make a list of the great American jazz trumpeters, you must also include Dan Jacobs. His name so often graces the credit lists of jazz recordings. He has also made so many live performances as a soloist and as a session player! Dan has performed, toured and recorded with just about every imaginable headliner in the music business. The list is almost endless. You have to wonder…. does this man ever sleep? The more you think about this, you begin to realize that it simply has to be the love of music that is the force that motivates him.
Credits: Thanks to Dan Jacobs for use of information and two photos from his website and from email correspondence. Thanks also for photos Dan supplied to us from his personal collection. His website is located at: http://www.danjacobsmusic.com/
Some of the information concerning Kenny Gordon’s career was obtained from newspaper clippings supplied to Kim Rush by Kenny Gordon.
Special thanks to those who offered their thoughts about Dan Jabobs via email correspondence:
Charlie “Bobby Charles” Winkler, Ronnie Fray, Lin’ (Nowicki) Otherlin, Martine Dalton, Bob Van Stee, Randy Scott Marsh and Evans DeVries.
Thanks to Doug Taylor for organizing and spearheading this feature.
The following contains more complete detailed information concerning Dan Jacobs’ incredible career:
Dan Jacobs: Bio
Trumpeter Dan Jacobs, originally from Michigan playing with his family Dixieland band as a teenager. That group went on to win many state contests and also played for the opening of the Mackinac Bridge in 1957.
Since then, he has traveled the world playing music of all kinds. Dan studied trumpet performance and music theory at the acclaimed Navy School of Music and was in the honor guard at the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 in Washington, DC. He also studied at Berkeley College of Music and Michigan State University.
Dan Jacobs on the Flugelhorn
Other notable credits:
Latest album, “Play Song,” in the Top 30 nationwide on JazzWeek Charts 2011
Included on the list of “American Jazz Trumpeters” at wikipedia.org.
Included in the Who’s Who of Jazz Trumpeters – (“Trumpeters Galore” – An Encyclopedia of Trumpet Players)
Featured Artist Interview in “Jazz Improv Magazine, Spring issue 2005.”
Received the prestigious Outstanding Soloist honors at Notre Dame Jazz Festival.
Featured artist interview in Smooth Jazz mag 2011.
Featured soloist at The Monteux-Detroit International Jazz Festival, The Newport Beach Jazz Festival, Los Angeles Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, Old Town Jazz Festival in Lansing, MI, Montreal Festival of Jazz, Long Beach Jazz Festival, The Newport Beach Jazz Festival, The Boise Jazz Festival, Michigan Jazz Trails Festival, and many more.
Performed at countless jazz clubs around the Los Angeles/Orange County area: Spaghettini Jazz Bar; Kobe Steakhouse; Jax Premier Jazz Supper Club; Steamers Jazz Club & Cafe; Cafe Lido Jazz Club; In San Francisco: Savanna Jazz Club; – in MI: Shorts Brewing; What Not Inn; Bakers Keyboard Lounge; Bird of Paradise Jazz/Blues; Firefly Jazz Club; – in Montreal: The House of Jazz; in Vancouver: Cellar Jazz; in Winipeg, Cafe 232 Jazz Club; and many more around the country.
Recorded five jazz CD’s – with jazz radio play around the world.
Performed/recorded with: Bob James, Maria Schneider, Jay Leno, Woody Herman, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Mel Torme’, Johnny Mathis, Gladys Knight, Wayne Newton, Linda Ronstadt, John Pizzarelli, Bobby Vinton, The Four Tops, Ron Eschete, Bobby Shew, Allen Vizzutti, Clark Terry, and more.
DAN JACOBS His name is included on the list of “American Jazz Trumpeters,” and he has toured in Asia, Mexico, Canada, Europe and the United States, performing on the world stage with big bands, jazz combos and public touring acts.
LIVE PERFORMANCE: As a soloist and/or section player, he has performed, toured and/or recorded with headliners such as Bob James, John Pizzarelli, Maria Schneider Big Band, Wayne Newton, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Mel Tormé, Johnny Mathis, Linda Ronstadt, Aaron Neville, David Clayton Thomas, Regis Philbin, The Four Tops, The Lettermen, Lala Brooks & The Crystals, Kenny Rogers, Bobby Vinton, Billy Dean, The Gene Krupa Orchestra, The Jesus Christ Superstar road show, Lawrence Welk, U.S. Navy Bands, many Los Angeles bands and more. Also he has performed with individual artists such as, Clark Terry, Wayne Bergeron, Bill Chase, Bill Watrous, Allen Vizzutti, Vince DeMartino, Rex Richardson, John Pizzarelli, Mel Dalton, Chuck Flores, Chuck Findley, Jon Faddis, Ron Eschete, Bobby Shew, Dr. Thom Mason, Joe Davis, Paul Cacia, Chuck Flores, Scott Martin, Andy Martin, Stan Martin, Dr. Warrick Carter, Walt Johnson, Rich Wetzel, John Pezanelli, Alan Broadbent, Dr. Charles Rutherford, Sal Nestico, , Roger Ingram, Greg Gisbert, Bruce Fowler, Mike Kull, Don Clarke, Tony Guerrero, Bobby Medina, Kurt Rasmussen, Tom Roady, Brian Kilgore, John Novello, Denis Solee, Ed Shaughnessy, Ed Soph, Frank Tiberi, Sal Nestico, Tommy Brechtlein, Ron Eschete, Dr. Pascol Bokar, Al Green and many others.
FESTIVALS: As a featured trumpet soloist he has performed at Jazz Festivals around the U.S. such as: Pacific Jazz Festival, The Newport Beach Jazz Festival, Montreux-Detroit International Jazz Festival, Long Beach Jazz Festival, Los Angeles jazz Festival, Vancouver BC Festival d’ete, Montreal Jazz Festival, Michigan Jazz Trail Festival, Boise Jazz Festival, Suttons Bay Jazz Festival, Lansing Old Town Jazz Festival, Detroit International Jazz Festival, The Alpenfest, The Live Music Festival in Orange County, Nashville JazzFest, Freedom Jazz Festival, and more. AWARDS: Dan received the prestigious “Outstanding Soloist” for the Collegiate Jazz Festival at Notre Dame in 1968.
Featured trumpet soloist on an award-winning CD in 2003, entitled, “Adventure Accidentele” by vocalist/guitarist, Danielle Herbert. The CD won the Canadian Music Awards highest honor, “THE JUNO.” RADIO & AIRPLAY
His jazz CD, “PLAY SONG” hit the “TOP 30? list nationwide on JAZZWEEK 2012.
His two CD’s, “Jazz Standard Time” and “Blue After Hours” both hit the TOP 100 list nationwide on jazz stations around the U.S.
Selections from the his CD’s, “Dream Sketches” and “Future Memories” were featured on in-flight play on all the major U.S. airlines in the early ‘90’s.
A music video performance of his composition, “Dream Sketches” was selected for nationwide release on BET TV in 1992.
One of his compositions from the CD, “Dream Sketches” was selected for background music on “McNeil – Leher” news show on TV for three years in the early ‘90’s.
Dan Jacobs is included on the list of “American Jazz Trumpeters.”
JAZZ IMPROV MAGAZINE did a feature interview with Dan Jacobs in the 2005 Spring Issue. A copy of the article text available at: www.jazzartistinterviews.com
PLAY SONG – 2011 (Dan Jacobs Quartet)
Blue After Hours – 2004 (Dan Jacobs Quartet)
Adventure Accidentele’, 2003 (sideman and featured soloist)
Jazz Standard Time – 2002 (leader and featured soloist)
Future Memories – 1992 (leader and soloist)
Dream Sketches – 1991 (leader and soloist)
Big Band Super – 1988 (featured soloist)
The Brothers Jacobs – 1985 (co-leader and featured soloist)
WEBSITE: www.danjacobsmusic.com – – – this website is one of the top sites for trumpeters and other musicians. It is viewed regularly at 100 countries worldwide and averages over 1.3 million hits annually.
MUSIC, photos, reviews, feedback and more can be found on his website at: www.danjacobsmusic.com and is available for purchase at: cdbaby.com
VIDEOS of live clinic, concert and festival performances can be found at: www.thejacobsbrothers.com or firstname.lastname@example.org (click on the blog)
FEEDBACK AND REVIEWS:
“Dan Jacobs emerges as one of the forces in the jazz idiom. This is a solid jazz album, a blessing for you true jazzophiles.” – John Gilbert – EJAZZNEW.COM
“Dan’s beautiful trumpet lines remind one of Chris Botti, except that Jacobs’ work brings more extended improvisation to the mix and a much fuller, darker, smoother and more luxurious tone than any mink coat, and twice as shiny.” – Thomas R.Erdmann-JAZZREVIEW.com
“Dan Jacobs is one of the great new offerings to the jazz world. His solos are articulate, haunting, expansive, challenging, advanced, accurate and intense and his command of his artistry demands careful listening.” – George W. Carroll, EJAZZNEWS.com
“Quite obviously, Dan Jacobs is the man with the experience who can really drive things home as a jazz soloist.”- Bob James, Keyboardist, composer, WINNER OF TWO GRAMMY AWARDS.
“Trumpeter Dan Jacobs marks the arrival of a superb jazz artist! His solos have a way of making the songs come alive! – João da Penha, BRAZIL JAZZ RADIO HOST
“Wow! Excellent CD. Beautiful trumpet playing, very lyrical, good lines, clear sound, very tasteful indeed.” – Bobby Shew – international recognized jazz trumpet master and educator.
“Trumpeter Dan Jacobs wittingly weaves in and out of the traditional harmonic structure of the song and has created some witty playfulness and mischief here. His solo is quite vibrant, breathing freshness, yet keeping true to the the fun and ”cool” tradition of this timeless classic.”
“Blue After Hours is simply the best jazz record I have heard in 30 years.” – Tom Wright, internationally acclaimed MUSICIAN PHOTOGRAPHER “Clifford Brown has always been my favorite and I once said no one will ever compare to him. Now that I have heard Dan Jacobs, I might have to eat those words!” – Bob Harrigan, Music Advisor/Artist Liaison: JAZZ FESTIVALS/FLORIDA
“The wonderfully controlled trumpet from Dan Jacobs is a model of taste and feeling.” – Brian Robinson, LONDON JAZZ JOURNAL MAGAZINE
“Trumpeter Dan Jacobs is simply a class act and definitely very top crust.” – PRESTIGE JAZZ CLUB, RUSSIA
“I love the trumpet sound of Dan Jacobs and the overall approach of the album. I’ll be featuring the CD on my “Saturday Jazz” radio show.”- Brian Davis, JAZZLINE.NEW.AU, AUSTRALIA
“Dan Jacobs is among the finest of the of the players carrying the message of our music; he is playing JAZZ as it should be” – John Gilbert, INTERNATIONAL JAZZ REVIEWER
“Dan Jacobs approach is clearly about taste and musicality.”- Winthrop Bedford, JAZZ IMPROV MAGAZINE
“I was hooked right from the start; wonderful work!” – Haybert K. Houston, Editor in Chief, JAZZ NOW MAGAZINE
“Dan Jacobs displays a shimmering, gorgeous trumpet sound with a beautiful timbre not unlike his main man, Bobby Shew.” – George Fendel, JAZZ SCENE MAGAZINE
“I had about given up on today’s music till I heard Dan Jacobs play.” – Fred Gray, SYNDICATED WRITER, EDITOR
“Your music is very sophisticated and unique in composition – thank you for giving us joy through your music.” – Sandy Shore, President/Founder SMOOTHJAZZ.COM RADIO
CONTACT INFORMATION: Email: email@example.com Website: danjacobsmusic.com Phone: 900-800-6660 (voice mail)
Having played nearly every style of music from Dixieland, swing, big band jazz, small jazz groups, and jazz/rock/fusion, I also led my own successful jazz quintet for fifteen years in Los Angeles playing jazz clubs, concerts, clinics, festivals etc.
While in Los Angeles, I worked in the studios as a trumpeter sideman and also recorded several CD’s under my own name with many rave reviews from jazz radio stations, magazines and individuals.
A selection reviews is included in the resume to follow, but here are here are several of them as a sampling:
“Jacobs’ entrancing and gorgeous flugelhorn acumen with long, sustained passages that smolder with each passing chorus is the epitome of cool.” – Eric Harabadian, JAZZ INSIDE MAGAZINE
“Veteran jazz trumpeter Dan Jacobs brings forth one of the most unexpected musical highlights of 2011 with the release of his new CD, “PLAY SONG”—a superior recording in every respect. “Play Song” captures a command performance from trumpeter Dan Jacobs and his able crew producing a very accessible and engaging musical statement that jazz audiences everywhere can appreciate, well done!” – Edward Blanco, EJAZZNEWS.com
“Eloquent. Tasteful. Compelling. Masterful musicianship! Dan Jacobs’ trumpet and flugelhorn playing, as well as composition, makes PLAY SONG a phenomenally great jazz album. I absolutely love it! It proves that great chops + great phrasing + heart = superb jazz!” – Scott O’Brian, – SMOOTHJAZZ.com
“Dan Jacobs emerges as one of the forces in the jazz trumpet idiom. This is a solid jazz album, a blessing for you true jazzophiles.” – John Gilbert – EJAZZNEW.COM
“Dan’s beautiful trumpet lines remind one of Chris Botti, except that Jacobs’ work brings more extended improvisation to the mix and a much fuller, darker, smoother and more luxurious tone than any mink coat, and twice as shiny.” – Thomas R.Erdmann – JAZZREVIEW.com
Over the years, I have played professionally on the road as a leader of my own jazz group and have also played extensively as a sideman with “name artists” in their public touring acts. This includes names such as Bob James, John Pizzarelli, Ron Eschete, Wayne Newton, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Mel Tormé, Johnny Mathis, Linda Rondstadt, David Clayton Thomas, Aaron Neville, Woody Herman Orchestra and many more, (included below.)
Although trumpet is my primary instrument, flute is my secondary one. I have played jazz flute professionally with various bands on the road, in jazz clubs, in teaching and playing at jazz camps, clinics, concerts, gigs and festivals for many years. I also have recorded several CD’s where I played flute as a sideman.
I enjoy working with students of all ages from 6th grade up to university levels to share with them the love of music that I have known all my life. On many occasions I have been a featured artist presenting clinics, master classes, lectures and live performances with High Schools and Colleges to uniformly rave reviews. I have many letters of commendation from teachers and faculty of schools where I have worked that I can provide upon request.
I also have established and maintain an active website at www.danjacobsmusic.com – dedicated to trumpeters and other musicians – which averages over 1.3 million hits annually where students can write and ask questions and get answers free of charge from a professional player. This website also contains numerous photos of my live performance on both on trumpet and on flute.
Finally, my fundamental belief is that music is a universal language; a method of communication to connect with people through emotion, feelings, and aesthetics in such a way that it enhances the lives of both the musician and the listeners.
MYSPACE.COM – MUSIC WEBSITE FOR DAN JACOBS:
FS ~ 2/22/2014 – 2/24/2014 ~ 2/28/2014 – 3/1/2014